Well, it seems like we've been here before, doesn't it?

Section 8, as some of you will recall, was a game that flew rather under the radar about a year and a half ago. Released right around the same time as Modern Warfare 2 and Borderlands, the unproven game (which sold for a full-game price of $60) was quickly shoved aside as an unproven, unimaginative Halo/Tribes hybrid.

But is that really a fair comparison? Of course not.

Section 8: Prejudice

As our review for the original game shows, I thought that Section 8, while flawed, was certainly fun, quite underrated, and deserved a second look that it never got. A lot of factors can be attributed to this - the game had issues early on due to problems with Games for Windows Live, the publisher commitment wasn't very stellar, the game only got one patch and one pack of DLC - that the game, while one of the most interesting FPS games I had ever played, was all but dead within six months. Despite that, I found myself reminded of how original I felt it was, and how I lamented that few people would ever get a chance to play this underrated title.

That all changed September 10, 2010.

Suddenly, out of absolutely freakin' nowhere, Gamespot comes up with an article. "Section 8: Prejudice Q&A - Exclusive First Details."

And the goosebumps began to form on my arms immediately.

Could it be? Could that FPS I was sure nobody would remember except as nothing more than in interesting footnote actually be getting... a sequel?

Yes. Yes it was.

Section 8: Prejudice

Then, October 20, 2010 comes around.

"Section 8: Prejudice Multiplayer Beta Announced."

Needless to say, I was all on that. Immediately. Itching. Waiting.

November 15, 2010. "Sign up for the Prejudice Beta Today!" My fingers couldn't hit the keys fast enough.

A few scant days later, I got an email back inviting me to join. And how I joined, dear readers. 100 hours (yes, 100 hours!) of play later, I'm here to give you seven reasons why you should be buying this game as soon as it comes out - April 20th for XBox 360, May 4th for PC, and sometime in summer for PS3.

Section 8: Prejudice
  1. The whole game - $15. No joke.

    I figured that even $30 would be a fair price to pay for this title, after a few weeks of testing. Nope, TimeGate stunned us all. On December 15, an interesting little video went up on YouTube, a video that even I couldn't believe - Prejudice was going to be distributed digitally only. The whole game - SP, MP, bots and all - will cost $14.99 on PC or PS3, and 1200 Microsoft Points on the 360. The whole, complete game. This isn't a typo, this isn't a gimmick, this isn't a stripped-down version - the entire, complete game, for fifteen bucks - one-fourth the price of the first game. You could get yourself and four friends a copy, at the price point of one Call of Duty. And while I can't completely comment on how much you'll get for that fifteen bucks, suffice to say it may be one of the most content-packed games at that price point, ever. Warpath (Remember that? Probably not.) had less content than Prejudice will have - and Warpath was $20!

    Section 8: Prejudice
  2. Oodles of Noodles... and DLC, too

    TimeGate Studios have already made it very, very clear that they plan to have much more support for Prejudice than for Section 8. They're already working on not just one, but several DLCs for the game. Some of these DLCs will be pay-for, while others will be completely free to all owners, and owing to the game's $15 stock price, we've been assured they'll be quite reasonably priced. It's nice to see a developer who will extend their hand like this - DLC is pretty much a fact of modern gaming, but it's nice to see some companies who don't make you pay for each and every expansion they release, and instead give you maximum bang for your buck. It makes you think back to simpler times, like 1999, doesn't it?

    Section 8: Prejudice
  3. Unreal Engine 3.5

    Of course, this is a given. When UDK came out and ushered in what may as well be considered Unreal Engine 3.5, games began to take advantage of the new graphical fidelity. Prejudice is no exception. The game looks simply gorgeous on higher-end systems, and like most Unreal Engine 3 games, is surprisingly well optimized. The rig I tested it on (I've since upgraded), a somewhat aged Core 2 Duo E8400 at 3 GHz, and a GeForce GTX 285 to back it up, is able to crank the details up completely to maximum settings, at 2048x1152, and rarely ever dips out of what most folks would consider playable framerates. Simply put, if you could run most Unreal Engine 3 titles on your system, Prejudice won't give you any problems. And of course, the console crowd isn't going to be left out either.

    Section 8: Prejudice
  4. This much... for $15?

    I briefly touched on this in Point #1, but it's worth mentioning again - Prejudice may simply have the most content from any budget-priced game I've ever seen. For the polish and amount of content that's going into this title... it REALLY doesn't feel like a $15, budget game at all. It feels like something far more expensive. TimeGate Studios is doing a very interesting gamble - they're trying to see just how much content they can cram into a game, how much polish they will put into it, and how low they will slash the price. I would not feel ripped off if this game were $30, or even $40. At $15, this is an absolute joke of a question: If you like FPS games, and you like Sci-fi, there's almost no reason to not give this one a shot. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised at just how polished this game is for the price. Who knows? Maybe even those other, big-name publishers and developers will sit up and take notice...

    Section 8: Prejudice
  5. More, More, More

    And what if you are one of those people who did put down $60 for Section 8, only to get burned by it? Well, besides the drastically lower price (and at a point that's very hard to argue with), TimeGate has definitely made changes under the hood. Combat is much faster and deadlier, and yet somehow even more strategic. Some of the weapon unlocks you can be looking forward to in Prejudice: Incendiary Machine Guns, EMP Grenades, Concussive Shotguns, Rapid-Fire Rocket Launchers, Napalm Mortars... and that's really just the tip of the iceberg. New vehicles are abound, too - the Hoverbike is very fast, very deadly, and will have unwary enemies becoming new hood ornaments. And there's new DCMs, as well. Take, for example, the Jammer Array, which drops down onto the map. One team has to defend it, while the other team must hack it and then hold it. There's even more Passive Modules to customize your soldier's performance - want to earn more money for your kills so you can buy your tank faster? You can do that now! Simply put, even if you're a salty Section 8 veteran, there will be new things to find, new ways to attack, and new challenges aplenty in Prejudice.

    Section 8: Prejudice
  6. Section 8... wasn't this the game with the aimbot?

    Not quite. Section 8 did have a feature that allows you to lock-on to an opponent, ensuring shots wouldn't miss for a few seconds unless they somehow broke your line of sight, and then it took about a half minute to recharge and be reusable. This still remains in Prejudice, but it's gotten some very important tweaks - thanks to weapons like EMP grenades, it's possible to disable enemy lock-ons, instantly, for quite some time. Secondly, each shot taken while lock-on is activated is now balanced by taking chunks of time - and the game will remove far more time for a shotgun blast than a Machine Gun round. Lock-on wasn't much of a crutch in Section 8 - it'd let Jake Newbie get a kill, but it's even less of one in Prejudice now, and all things considered, the smarter player is still more likely to win.

    Section 8: Prejudice
  7. Completely standalone

    No, you won't need the original Section 8 to play the sequel. (Although there may be a few bonus unlocks for those of you who did!) Prejudice is a title that stands completely on its own - the first game isn't needed at all to enjoy the second. And while those of you who did play the first game will be at a benefit in terms of knowing how the game flows, new players won't have any problems whatsoever joining in the fun.

Section 8: Prejudice

All in all, I came away thoroughly impressed by Prejudice. They did everything they needed to do - they took a good game with promise, but flaw, and they really focused on eliminating the flaws while making the core game fun for all. Then they did one better and made it a ludicrously low price. Don't be fooled by the fact the game costs only $15 - Section 8: Prejudice may be, simply put, the best $15 you'll ever spend on a budget title. With lots of content out of the "box", promises of plenty more content to come, a very active (and friendly) forum, and developers who very much like to get to know their community, simply put, I'm going to be playing this one for a nice, long while. Those of you who get the PC version... feel free to say "Hi" if you see me.

Assuming you survive long enough to do it, that is. :)

Section 8: Prejudice

Images used by permission of TimeGate Studios. We at BeyondUnreal thank them for graciously allowing this permission.